Texas came up with a big attitude performance to take down Missouri in the Texas Bowl. Here are five things that matter.
2017 Texas Bowl: Texas 33, Missouri 16
5. Greatest bowl punting performance ever?
The best player on the field was a punter, but he wasn’t just any punter.
There’s a reason Texas punter Michael Dickson won the Ray Guy Award and is turning pro early – he’s really, really good.
He destroyed Missouri by keeping the O pinned deep for most of the game, averaging 41.1 yards per punt and putting ten of them inside the 20.
But it was more than that. Those ten were inside the 15, with seven of those on the ten or better.
For a team without a slew of key defensive parts, Dickson was amazing.
4. Drew Lock
From his mini-celebration that Texas head coach Tom Herman later mocked, to a few brilliant throws that showed off his NFL arm, the Mizzou quarterback had the social media world buzzing.
He only completed 18-of-34 passes for 269 yards with a score and a pick, but that 79-yard touchdown pass to Johnathon Johnson made those who care about the pro world drool.
But that one throw was about it.
3. The Texas quarterback situation
Shane Buechele completed 6-of-14 passes for 55 yards and a score, and Sam Ehlinger completed 11-of-15 throws for 112 yards and a touchdown with 17 rushing yards.
Going into next year, it certainly seems like this should be Ehlinger’s team to run, but Buechele is still really, really, good – as long as he doesn’t get beaten up. And that’s the problem, Buechele got beaten up again, and Ehlinger came in and put the game away.
The quarterback situation was one of the big stories going into the bowl game, and now it’ll be even more interesting.
2. Missouri played a good team
And there’s Missouri’s problem. Was it all for real?
Yeah, the team rose up in the second half of the season and turned things around, but it’s because it played a whole slew of mediocre teams. And now, Mizzou finishes up going 7-0 against teams that didn’t go bowling,
0-6 against the bowl squads, and with still a whole lot of question marks after offensive coordinator Josh Heupel left to take over the UCF job, Missouri isn’t a sure-thing to have this turned around like many might suggest.
1. Tom Herman coached his tail off
This might not have been the big season Texas should’ve had, and the taunting/mocking of an opposing player – mimicking Drew Lock’s touchdown celebration – was embarrassing and beneath an adult head coach in his 40s, but this is what Longhorn fans wanted.
Without most of the stars in the secondary, LB Malik Jefferson, and several over key parts on both sides of the ball, the defense all but shut down the Mizzou offense to a dead stop at times.
The running game didn’t do much of anything, and the 280 yards of total offense weren’t enough, but the four takeaways, the amazing game from Dickson, and by dominating the time of possession, Texas did it, and Herman did it.